Sunday, May 27, 2007
SCIENCE Questions: How Much Can Human Life Be Extended?
"How Much Can Human Life Be Extended?" is one of the top 25 questions from the 125th anniversary issue of Science magazine [Science, July 1, 2005]. The complete reference is ...
Jennifer Couzin is a San Francisco-based news writer for Science magazine. She also wrote on "To What Extent Are Genetic Variation and Personal health Linked?".
With respect to the sort of fundamental questions that are described in the lead article [SCIENCE Questions: Asking the Right Question], this is a stupid question. It isn't really a science question at all; it's a question about technology, or the application of science. If a leading magazine like Science can't get the difference between technology and fundamental science questions then we're in a lot more trouble than I thought.
Compare this question to one of the valid questions that is asked, "What Is the Universe Made of?" Does anyone really think that a question about how to prolong human lifetimes is in the same category as a question about dark matter?
Not only is this not a "science" question, it's a question that reflects a huge bias in favor of a single species, Homo sapiens. If our goal is to teach science literacy then surely one of the most important ways to advance this goal is to convince people that there's a lot more to science than just it's interface with medicine. As long as the general public continues to treat science as a means to an end then we're never going to convince them that knowledge for its own sake is valuable.